Kevin MacNeil - Revamping a classic RLS tale

This article is from 2011.

Kevin MacNeil - Revamping a classic RLS tale

Book Festival appearance by author of A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde

A sense of place is very important to Kevin MacNeil. You can see it in his 2005 novel, The Stornoway Way, and it’s there with the evocative Edinburgh setting he’s conjured up for A Method Actor’s Guide to Jekyll and Hyde. ‘I like the place where a novel is set to be a character in itself,’ MacNeil says. ‘And while Stevenson’s original is actually set in London, when I read the original or watch one of the film versions, I’m thinking of Edinburgh not London.’

Aspiring thespian Robert Lewis (can you see what he’s done there?) is on his way to rehearsals for a new stage play of the iconic RLS tale when he has a serious bike accident. He survives but his personality is transformed, the previously meek and mild Lewis taking no-nonsense from anyone, particularly among the play’s cast and crew. This leads to some surreal setpieces and a curious second half, when he appears to meet a bed-ridden MacNeil. ‘It’s about this idea of duality and multiplicity: do you only get one chance in life? Is your identity fixed or is it more fluid? And in the book I’m suggesting that life is defined by change and that there is more than one chance.’

13 Aug (with Richard T Kelly), 10.15am, £10 (£8).

Richard T Kelly & Kevin MacNeil

If gothic fiction is usually associated with the 19th century, then two British authors have brought the genre bang up to date. Richard T Kelly's novel The Possessions of Doctor Forrest and Kevin MacNeil's A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde use the classic gothic rejection of rationality to craft contemporary…

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